As an Associate Pastor I blogged about church a lot. Sometimes it got me in trouble. As a Pastor I haven't blogged much about church. In fact, much less than I thought I would, even though I knew I'd have extra restraints even from the beginning. There were more church related blogs in the early days of my pastorate, but they dropped off a lot. Well, my blogging overall dropped off too. It got kinda passe and didn't have the urgency of 2004 or early 2005. Plus, sitting at the computer at night writing was less fun than it used to be. Now that I work by myself most of the day at the end of the day I'm usually more inclined to go out or hang with friends, boyfriend, etc.
But tonight I'm going to blog about church.
At the end of January last year Jo, the Senior Pastor of CoH-Dallas and my boss, and I had a conversation about beginning the transition to CoH-OKC becoming its own church. This conversation had resulted from a number of issues that had come up in the previous months were it became increasingly clear that the arrangement of the previous five years wasn't working.
At the February Council on Ministry meeting, basically our monthly business meeting/church council meeting, I announced that we would begin this time of transition, which would also include our joining the United Church of Christ Oklahoma Association separate from joining the UCC as a part of CoH-Dallas. The initial response was silence that included the emotions of anxiety, fear, and excitement all at the same time.
It was a difficult year. Lots of stress and anxiety. I think it could have gone much better than it did. But we also avoided having any major blow-ups where a group of folk or a prominent leader left (and believe me, that looked possible more than once). Some of the time I wasn't sure I was well suited or gifted or called to the specific tasks that my job called for this year. Sometimes I was quite overwhelmed, fearful, anxious, angry, even depressed.
The transition is not completely through, but we've reached a critical and important stage. As of this week we are incorporated as a separate entity, with our bank account, financial policies and procedures, officers, constitution and by-laws, etc. The last pieces of the initial puzzle fell into place just within the last few days.
And this weekend (tonight and tomorrow), is a leadership retreat of our new officers and a few other key leaders. Yesterday as I prepared the packet of documents, proposals, reports, worksheets, devotionals, etc. to use for the retreat I felt a new liberation and empowerment. Now as we created our strategic plan for 2007 we could follow through on it without veto or someone else changing our focus by insisting on a new project or task or overriding our decision. By the end of our retreat tomorrow, we will have laid the groundwork for an ambitious plan for 2007.
Tonight we worked on basic administrative and financial matters and it was a wonderful meeting. I'm very excited.
We've also been in this period of refining our vision of our ministry. I've been gestating issues and having conversations, especially with non church members. We are planning a survey in order to have research from which to make our decisions.
Today at lunch I had a very stimulating with my friend Alex Easton about what he wishes a church would do. His idea was great and I'm going to run with it. But until I get more worked out, I'm not telling!
Okay, so there's a quick church update.